Zenith El Primero A384 Tropical
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
We don't know what it is about tropical dials that makes them so appealing. Show one to any watchmaker and his first reaction (after a grimace) would be, "It's damaged. Replace it."
But a sun-kissed dial with just a hint of brown can make a collector go weak in the knees. Here at Analog/Shift we've seen tropical dials--and tropical dials. It's fair to say we have a fondness for them, but there's something undeniably appealing about a panda dial that's gone tropical, like the one on this Zenith El Primero Reference A384.
The journey to develop the El Primero began in 1962, for a target date of 1965, Zenith's centennial. Although Zenith would overshoot that date by four years, the movement that they produced would break the mold as far as chronograph movements were concerned--both literally and figuratively. It would be the first automatic chronograph movement. Furthermore, it would be the first chronograph movement where the construction would fully integrate the chronograph complication, rather than containing it in a module. Instead, the El Primero would contain a column wheel and a rotor mounted on ball bearings.
The chronograph to bear the El Primero movement was the Reference A384, which debuted alongside its fumé-dialed sibling the A385 and the elusive round-cased A386, ancestor to the "Striking Tenth." About 2600 of the A384 were produced from 1969 to 1971. The angular tonneau case set the standard for vintage El Primeros, making it recognizable at a glance.
Another charming detail of these A384s is the aforementioned fading that occurs in the sub-registers and tachymeter ring. This particular A384 has taken on a handsome mocha hue that's positively appetizing. Additionally, the lume on the hour markers has aged to a green hue.
There's something downright elegant in its proportions, from the stunning dial to the sunburst finishing and the sharp chamfers on the lugs that makes it more than a watch, but a work of modern art--both inside and out. Recently serviced by our friends at Central Watch, this El Primero deserves to be the first choice for any collector who desires an example of this seminal automatic chronograph movement.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Zenith El Primero A384 Tropical